In alignment with DA globally, we have a focus on tax problems that Americans abroad face because of our U.S. citizenship. Previously we've called and written postcards to Congress expressing our displeasure with the way that FATCA and FBAR affect us, as well as the frustration and expense of having to file U.S. income taxes, only -- in most cases -- to end up not owing anything (other than, in many cases, paying tax professionals to prepare the returns!). We're not fat-cat tax cheats, we're ordinary Americans who happen to live abroad.
Our Last-Tuesday Afterwork in May featured Lisa Stefani, an American tax professional (and IRS enrolled agent) resident in Western Sweden who talked and answered questions about filing FATCA, FBAR, and income tax forms. We very much appreciate Lisa's sharing her knowledge!
Then we were joined this past Saturday by former DA-Sweden chair Deedee Gierow -- making a special visit here from Kalmar -- who updated us on DA's global efforts to lobby successive Administrations and Congress for relief from citizenship-based taxation (by changing to residence-based taxation), or -- failing that -- for a same-country safe-harbor exemption from filing FATCA and FBAR (so that neither we nor banks would have to report accounts in the country where we live), or -- failing that -- for merging FBAR and FATCA filing into a single procedure to at least relieve some of the unnecessary burden. Deedee is a member of DA's global Taxation Task Force (our volunteer research and lobbying team) and, among other things, has been door-knocking on Capitol Hill many times, attempting to persuade legislators and their staffs to take our issues seriously.
Deedee emphasized that the more votes we can turn out from overseas, the more clout our volunteer lobbyists will have when they enter those Congressional offices. One of the first questions that staffers and legislators ask is, "How many votes have you got?"
So that's one more reason -- besides saving democracy, saving the planet, etc. -- for us to get out the vote in this critical election year!
But meanwhile, tax deadline for us overseas is June 15, and we encourage all Americans abroad to contact Congress and express our unhappiness with citizenship-based taxation and with the way that FATCA and FBAR are applied. That way, when our volunteer lobbyists walk into a Congressional office and ask -- "Have you been hearing complaints from Americans abroad about the tax-reporting system?" -- they will say YES!